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Tinnitus – Treatment, Causes, Relief, Symptoms, Remedies, Retraining Therapy

Written by Dr.Mary

What is Tinnitus?

This is a ringing or noise in each or one ear. It is a very common problem and affects approximately 1 in every 5 individuals. Tinnitus is not a disorder itself – it is an indication of some condition which is underlying, such as ear injury, age-related loss of hearing or a problem with circulatory system.


Although annoying, tinnitus normally is not a symptom of anything serious. Even though it can get worse with age, for most individuals, tinnitus can get much better with management. Treating a causal cause which is identified often helps. Other treatments mask or reduce the noise, which makes tinnitus less obvious.

Tinnitus Symptoms

Tinnitus consists of irritating perception of hearing sounds or noise when there is no outside sound existing. Tinnitus symptoms encompass these kinds of phantom noises in the ears:

  • Buzzing
  • Ringing
  • Clicking
  • Roaring
  • Hissing
  • Whistling

These phantom noises can differ in pitch from a high squeal to a low roar, and can be heard in both or only one ear. There are cases where this sound is so loud that it interferes with the ability to hear authentic sound or to concentrate. Tinnitus can be existent all the time or it can come and go.

There are 2 kinds of tinnitus:

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus occurs when only you hear the noise. This is usually the more common form of tinnitus. It may be instigated by problems in the ear either in the inner, middle or outer ear. It can also be created by complications with the auditory nerves or the area of the brain which may understand nerve signals as sound.

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus occurs when the physician can actually hear the noise when he/she conducts the ear exam. This is a rare form of tinnitus and can be triggered by blood vessel problems, muscle contractions, or an inner ear disorder.

If an individual has tinnitus that is annoying, see your primary care physician.

Schedule an appointment with your physician if tinnitus develops after a respiratory infection such as a cold; especially if the tinnitus does not recover within a weeks’ time.

See your doctor immediately if tinnitus happens suddenly or with no apparent cause, or if there is loss of hearing or dizziness along with the tinnitus.

Tinnitus Causes

There are numerous health problems that can create or can make tinnitus worse. In some cases, a precise reason is not ever identified.

A very common reason of tinnitus is cell damage of the inner ear. Delicate, tiny hairs move in the inner ear linked to the relationship to sound wave pressure. This will trigger these cells to discharge electrical signals thru the auditory nerve that goes from the ear to the brain. The brain deduces these as sound. If hairs in the inner ear are broken or bent, they can also “leak” electrical impulses which are random to the brain, creating tinnitus.

Additional reasons for tinnitus can include other problems of the ear, conditions or injuries affecting the auditory nerves or the center of hearing in the brain, as well as chronic health conditions.

Common reasons of tinnitus

In the majority of individuals, tinnitus is caused by one of these below conditions:

Loss of hearing that is age-related

For the majority of people, hearing gets worse with age, normally beginning around 60 years of age.

Exposure to noises that are loud

Loud noises such as heavy equipment, firearms, and chain saws are all common sources of noise-related loss of hearing. Portable music devices, for example MP3 players or iPods, can also cause noise-related loss of hearing if played loudly for long periods.

Earwax blockage

Earwax is protection for the ear canal by ensnaring slow growth bacteria, as well as dirt. When there is too much earwax accumulated, it gets hard to wash away as expected, causing loss of hearing or irritation of the eardrum which can cause tinnitus.

Modifications in ear bone

Stiffening of bones in the middle ear can not only affect hearing but can cause tinnitus. This condition created by abnormal growth of bone runs in families.

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Drugs that can cause tinnitus

A number of drugs can cause or worsen tinnitus. Normally, the greater the dose of medicine, the worse the tinnitus comes to be. Often the annoying noise vanishes when the medicine is stopped. Drugs which are known to worsen or cause tinnitus include:

  • Antibiotics, such as erythromycin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, bleomycin as well as vancomycin
  • Cancer drugs, including vincristine and mechlorethamine
  • Diuretics or water pills – such as furosemide, bumetanide, ethacrynic acids
  • Chloroquine, a malaria medication
  • Quinine drugs used for malaria
  • Aspirin especially when taken in high doses

Remedies and Relief

There are times when tinnitus is not able to be treated. Several individuals get used to the constant tinnitus or note it less than when it started. For some individuals, certain adjustments make the sound less annoying. These may help:

Avoid likely irritants

Lessen exposure to anything that makes tinnitus worse. Examples are loud noises as well as nicotine.

Cover over the noise

In a setting that is quiet, a fan, low-volume radio static or soft music can mask this noise.

Management of stress

Stress makes tinnitus worse. Management of stress, by biofeedback, relaxation therapy, or exercise can offer some relief.

Reduce intake of alcohol

Alcohol raises the force of blood by dilating the blood vessels causing blood flow which is greater, especially in the area of the inner ear.

Tinnitus Treatment

Treating underlying health problems

To manage tinnitus, the physician will try first to detect any treatable underlying disorder that can be linked to the symptoms. If tinnitus is caused by a health disorder, the physician may take steps to diminish the noise. Examples include:

Removal of earwax

Removing any earwax which is impacted can decrease symptoms of tinnitus.

Treating any condition of blood vessel

Vascular conditions which are underlying probably need drugs, surgery or other types of treatment to manage problem.

Changing drugs

If a medication seems to be the reason for tinnitus, your physician can advise stopping it or decreasing the dose or changing to a dissimilar medication.

Suppression of Noise

In several cases, “white noise” can help to subdue the sound so that it is not so annoying. Your primary care physician can suggest using some type of electronic device to overwhelm the noise. Devices can include:

White noise devices

These devices produce environmental sounds such as rain falling or waves on the beach, and are often an effective management for tinnitus. Try a white noise device with speakers that go under the pillow to help you with sleep.

Hearing aids

These can be help if you have hearing problems as well as tinnitus.

Masking aids

These are wearable in the ears and produce a white noise low-level and suppress the symptoms of tinnitus.

Tinnitus retraining

This is a device worn in the ear which delivers programmed tonal music that masks the exact frequencies of the tinnitus that an individual might be experiencing. The technique over time can accustom an individual to the tinnitus, by helping the person to stop focusing on it.

Tinnitus Medications

Drugs do not stop tinnitus but in several cases can help reduce the harshness of complications or symptoms. These include:

  • Tricycle antidepressants, for example nortriptyline and amitriptyline, have been used with success.
  • Alprazolam – Xanax can help reduce tinnitus symptoms but are habit forming and have side effects.

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